Using the Secure Shell File Transfer program

  • IT no longer distributes Secure Shell at UD. This page will no longer be updated.
  • IT now uses WinSCP for file transfers. Visit IT's new help pages for information about connecting and using WinSCP.

November 18, 2014

The Secure Shell file transfer window allows you to manage files on your computer and your directories on the UD server, including Web pages, graphics, documents, and more. With the file transfer program you will be able to:

  • View any directory or file on your computer and on the server.
  • Create, rename, move, and delete folders and files on your computer or within your directory on the server.
  • Transfer any file or folder between your computer and your directory on the server.
  • Change the permissions of files in your directory on the server.

Opening the SSH File Transfer window

The SSH File Transfer window allows you to transfer files from your desktop computer to a remote computer and from a remote computer to your desktop computer. You can transfer text files, graphic files, and files created by applications such as Microsoft Word.

To open a SSH File Transfer window, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the SSH Secure Shell Client desktop icon (or select the program from the Start menu).

    SSH Shell Client icon
  2. On the Profiles bar, click Quick Connect.
  3. In the Enter Password field, type your UNIX password.
  4. Click OK.
  5. On the Toolbar, click the File Transfer Window button, which looks similar to the following:

    SSH File Transfer icon
    You will see the SSH Secure File Transfer window that looks similar to the following:

example file transfer window

This window is divided into three main sections: Local Name, Remote Name, and File Transfer Status and History which are described below.

Local Name
The Local Name pane on the left side of the window lists the files and folders on your computer and enables navigation very similar to that in Windows Explorer. Files can be dragged from your computer (Local Name) to the server (Remote Name) or from the remote server to your computer.

Remote Name
This area displays directories and files in your home directory on the UNIX server. You may also view other server directories and files as needed.

File Transfer Status and History
The status of each uploaded or downloaded file will appear on the Transfer tab. All actions are displayed in an exportable history list. The Queue tab displays files ready to be uploaded or downloaded.

Transferring files by dragging them to the server Transferring files using the SSH File Transfer program

Transferring files using the drag-and-drop method

You can transfer files between your computer and your directory on the server by using the drag-and-drop method as described below.

File Transfer window

  1. In the Remote Name window pane (on the right side of the window), change to the directory to which you wish to transfer your files, either by clicking the directory name or by typing the directory path in the box on the File bar.
  2. Select the format of the file you want to transfer:
    • Click  ASCII transfer mode button  (ASCII) for files that contain only text or program source code. Examples are files that end with .html, .htm, and .txt.
    • Click  binary transfer mode button  (Binary) for files that contain formatting codes such as files produced by word processor, spreadsheet, or graphics programs. Examples are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, .gif, and .jpg files.
    • Click  auto transfer mode button  (Auto) if you are unsure of the format of the files.
  3. Select the file you wish to transfer by clicking the file name. If you want to transfer more than one file, hold the CRTL key down and select the other files. Release the CTRL key and mouse button when you have selected your files.
  4. Click the highlighted file or group of files and drag it to the desired directory on the server in the right window pane. 
  5. Release the mouse button while the file is transferred. If a file name in the destination folder is the same as one you are transferring, you will be asked if it is OK to replace it. You will see the progress of the transfer on the Transfer tab at the bottom of the screen. The file will be listed in the target location if the transfer was successful.
  6. If you do not see your file in the target location, click the Refresh button refresh button icon.


To transfer files from the server directory to your local computer, follow the directions above, dragging the selected files to the left window pane (Local Name).

Transferring files using the upload and download buttons

You can also transfer files between your computer and server by using the download or upload button download/upload button icon.

File Transfer window

  1. In the Remote Name window pane, change to the directory to which you wish to transfer your files, either by clicking the directory name or by typing the directory path in the box on the File bar.
  2. On the Toolbar, click the Download button to move a file from the server to your computer or click the Upload button to transfer a file from your computer to the server.
  3. In the Select Files dialog box, locate and select the files for downloading or uploading.
  4. Click the Download or Upload button in the Select Files dialog box. Downloaded files will be transferred to the displayed computer directory, and uploaded files will be placed in the displayed server directory.

Setting file and folder permissions (attributes)

If you are uploading a file that others will view on the Web, you must ensure that Web users will be able to see the pages. Even though people may type the correct Web address to view your site, they will not be able to see the material without permission. The attributes for a file or the folder it is in must be set correctly on the server to give this permission.

Attributes are shown to the far right of the file or folder name (as shown in the right-most column of the following graphic). Use the scroll bar at the bottom of the file window to reveal the attributes column. Again, Web page viewing is enabled by changing the attributes of files and folders within your Web directory on the server:

window showing attributes column


Files and folders can have three types of users:

Owner The user with full rights to all files and directories within a specific server directory space; this user can change file and folder attributes.
Group A select group of users listed by the owner.
Other All other users; users accessing your pages and directories through the Web or the network.


Files and folders can have the following attributes on the server:

D The listing is a directory.
R The file or folder can be read (viewed).
W The file or folder can be written to.
X The folder can be opened to access files (execute); the user can view Web pages in the folder.

Recommended attributes

The following settings are recommended to enable you to share your Web pages over the Internet. Verify that that these settings have been applied to your Web folder and all files and folders in it.

Folder settings

screen showing folder settings

File settings

screen showing file settings


If you are part of a group where more than one person will make changes to the Web files, click the Write check box for the group. The Permission mode will change to 664.

Changing attributes

  1. Right-click the file or folder name.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click the check box for the desired attribute for the Owner, Group, and Other categories.

attributes check box example

4. Click OK.

Deleting files or folders using the SSH File Transfer program

  1. Select a file or folder you wish to delete from either the Local Name or Remote Name window pane. 
  2. From the Operation menu, select Delete to delete the file or folder. Alternatively, you can click the red X on the File bar.
  3. A Confirm Delete dialog box appears, allowing you to confirm if you really want to delete the selected files or folders. Click Yes to delete the selected items or Cancel to keep them.

Quitting the SSH File Transfer program

  1. On the Toolbar, click the  Disconnect icon  disconnect button icon to quit the current File Transfer session.
  2. From the File menu, select Exit to quit the SSH File Transfer program.